Rev. Stephen Finlan is the Designated-term Pastor at The First Church, West Bridgewater, MA.
Scripture: multiple references
I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’
Reflection: Grasp and Let Go
Here’s a radical idea: what would happen if we really believed the Gospel teaching that God is just and loving, that God will complete the good work begun in us (Phil 1:6), that “God will wipe away every tear” (Rev 7:17; 21:4)? I think it would change how we handle disappointment and apparent failure.
If we really believe that truth and justice reign in heaven, then certainty about the triumph of good is the only truly rational belief for us to hold. We have been given an eternal destiny. Let us stake our lives on this. Let us live as though already in the kingdom of heaven!
The way of faith involves both a grasping and a letting-go. We grasp God, that is, we hold onto God and onto the principles of faith. We affirm the goodness of God and the certainty of the eventual triumph of truth. But the letting-go is just as important as the grasping. We have to tell the ego to let go of control, and get our self-protectiveness to back down. We have to keep doing this because it is very counter-intuitive for the ego. It feels risky because it is risky. There is no guarantee about how the world will treat us.
It is hard to accept that we may not be treated justly in this lifetime. But we are told “do not worry . . . have faith” (Matt 6:31, 34; 17:20). This does not mean that we should be passive and accept all mistreatment, only that we should not expect to get approval or praise.
Affection, respect, and security are not bad things; the problem is in clinging to these, or making them our central goals. Doing the will of God and seeking to live the Godly way should be our singular goal.
Dear God, open our eyes to your truths and help us find the strength and courage to live as though we are already in the kingdom of heaven.
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
For those grieving or suffering after shooting in a mall in Alabama on Thanksgiving Day
For those grieving or suffering after shooting in a hospital in Chicago on Friday
For those migrants at the U.S./Mexico border who are met with canisters of tear gas instead of compassion
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For those who enter this Advent season with generosity and love in their hearts
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
First Congregational Church of Cheshire, UCC
The United Church of Chester
First Church of Christ Congregational, UCC
Colchester Federated Church
Columbia Congregational Church UCC
This Week in History:
Nov. 30, 1993 (25 years ago): The Brady Bill is signed into law by Pres. Bill Clinton. Named after James Brady, a press secretary under Pres. Ronald Reagan, who was wounded during an attempt on President Reagan’s life, the law requires mandatory background checks and waiting periods for the purchase of handguns.
Stephen M. Finlan
Stephen Finlan is pastor of First Congregational Church of Plainfield, CT, and author of numerous books. Visit his website at stephenfinlan.org.